CALPE, Spain — Chris Froome took a big bite into Nairo Quintana’s lead of the Spanish Vuelta by winning an individual time trial Friday with two days remaining in the race.
The Tour de France champion reduced Quintana’s lead of 3 minutes, 37 seconds entering the 19th stage to 1:21 before the penultimate and decisive day.
Froome, who won bronze in the time trial at last month’s Olympic Games, sped through the 37-kilometer (22.9-mile) route from Javea and Calpe along the Mediterranean coast in 46 minutes, 33 seconds.
It was Froome’s second win of this year’s Vuelta.
“We have one more day of racing tomorrow. We will see,” Froome said. “Quintana still has more than a minute of advantage, but we will keep fighting.”
Quintana’s Movistar teammate Jonathan Castroviejo was second across the line, 44 seconds behind Froome.
Quintana crossed with the 11th best time. The Colombian climber, a two-time runner-up to Froome at the Tour, is looking to add the Vuelta to his 2014 Giro d’ Italia title.
“I had a good time trial, but Froome had a much better one. He really flew and got a better time than we had anticipated,” Quintana said. “The important thing is that I still have good legs to defend my lead tomorrow.”
Three-time Vuelta winner Alberto Contador moved past Esteban Chaves into third place at almost four minutes off Quintana’s lead.
Saturday’s 20th stage is a mountainous 193.2-kilometer (120-mile) ride traversing three category-two ascents from Benidorm to a special-category finish at the Alto de Aitana summit.
The three-week race concludes with the traditional finish in Madrid on Sunday.